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John Hammonds

In praise of Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks

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With the flurry of petulant athletes demanding trades from poor performing franchises, I cannot help but remember Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks.  In the 1995 draft, Sapp and Brooks were both first round draft choices of the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  For the bulk of their 19 years, the Bucs were the laughingstock of the NFL, setting all-time records for futility, horrible coaching, and bad luck.  The two guys could have done what many other Bucs draftees had done in the past, bide their time until they could take the first opportunity to get traded to somebody else.  To a "good" team.  But these guys didn't.  They decided to stay.  They decided to be the foundation of the kind of team that they wanted to play for.  By 1999, the Buccaneers, under head coach Tony Dungy, had the most ferocious defense in the league.  And, with no kind of offense to speak of, played their way to the NFC Championship game, where they held the Rams, which were just then becoming the "Greatest Show on Turf", to only 11 points.  They lost 11-6.  But they weren't laughingstocks anymore.  In 2002, under head coach John Gruden, and with an infusion of offensive players like Keyshawn Johnson, they won the Superbowl.  With their defense leading the way.  Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks are both in the Hall of Fame.  And the Buccaneers are a respected franchise.  All because two guys said, "We're staying."

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The Buccs were almost there for as many as 5 years I think, with that first year only ending badly because some moderately known guy named Brett Favre bashed their skulls in in week 17 after they’d won 4 straight and Sam Wyche proclaimed they had “arrived.” They won 6 or 7 games every year with him I think. One of the wildest games I ever saw as a youngun was them almost beating the 49ers in a shootout. They were close but Sapp and Brooks were the arrival for real.

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Everyone looks for the short cut now. Why put in all that time when you can just try and hop on the best team? A ring is a ring right?

 

The clear cut best decision in the short term isn't always the best decision for the long term. Sometimes guys develop into better players because they accept the difficult path and become a more skillful climber along the way.

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On 9/19/2019 at 12:00 AM, BloodyChamp said:

 

Good, 'clean' shot back then. Personal foul and disqualification today.

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On 9/19/2019 at 1:19 AM, SouthernIndianaNDFan said:

Getting Jaylon Smith in the 2nd round when prior to his Bowl Game injury he was a Top 5 lock erases any Taco Charlton nonsense. 

La'el Collins...

 

Despite his agents rants, I guess he was worth a 7th round selection. Make the dude sit a year if he doesn't want to play...

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